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French Wildflowers and Algerian Gangsters: Humanism and Violence at the Movies

Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men). Written and directed by Xavier Beauvois. France, 2010. Hors la loi (Outside the Law). Written and directed by Rachid Bouchareb. Algeria/Belgium/France, 2010. Recently, two movies have offered Algeria a starring role at the post-colonial box-office. Des hommes et des dieux ...  Read More »

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What is a Sari Nusseibeh For?

Sari Nusseibeh, What is a Palestinian State Worth? Cambridge, MA: Harvard Belknap Press, 2011. Among Palestinians there may well be a more fundamental underlying cultural or religious disposition to believe in the reality of death so strongly as to view life as being on a par with death, or even of far less value. ...  Read More »

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And the Late Night Comedians Shall Lead Us

For those of you lucky readers who are able to access Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya on your televisions, you can stop reading now. This is for those of us, in the US, who either have to sleep with our laptops streaming the “real” news or who, for fear that our batteries may die, have to set our cell phone alarm clocks to ...  Read More »

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"ما خفي كان أعظم: عن "خائف إلى الأبد [Sayed Kashua - Forever Scared]

” إنني أخاف من السيارات، من الكلاب، من الأفاعي، أخاف من الطائرات، والمروحيات، من الدبابات والجنود. أخاف من العمليات الإرهابية. أخاف من اليهود، أخاف من العرب، واخاف أن يضعونا يوماً ما في مخيمات لللاجئين.“ (سيد قشوع، صحيفة هآرتس، 2002) بهذا الإقتباس يبدأ أول مشهد في الفيلم الوثائقي ”خائف إلى الأبد“ (2009) وهو من إخراج ...  Read More »

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The American Granddaughter (A Review)

Many Iraqis returned to their country after the American invasion in 2003 as members of the entourage that accompanied the invading army and helped it administer its occupation. Some of them were translators recruited by companies back in the US where they were living either as refugees, residents, or Iraqi-American ...  Read More »

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"It's Important to Remember Their Names:" Review of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara

Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Edited by Moustafa Bayoumi. Chicago: Haymarket Books / New York: OR Books, 2010. First things first: Midnight on the Mavi Marmara is necessary reading. It also provides a strong ...  Read More »

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Zindeeq: Film Review

Zindeeq, directed by Michel Khleifi. Palestine/UK/Belgium/UAE, 2009. Michel Khleifi is the acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker, director and producer of such award winning films as Wedding in Galilee (1987) and Route 181 (2004). His films and work as professor at the Belgian Institut National Supérieur des Arts du ...  Read More »

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Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Much of the implicit political background—the staging-point—of Saba Mahmood’s highly acclaimed ethnography of the women’s mosque movement in Egypt, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the ...  Read More »

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American Innocence and Its Victims (Part 1)

[See Part 2 here]  We should be somewhat grateful, I suppose, that the New York Times Book Review dedicated its back-page essay to a review of the current edition of the literary journal Granta, a special issue devoted to Pakistan. After all, literature from Pakistan deserves a wider audience in the U.S., and in ...  Read More »

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Still at Sea: A Review of "Hope"

Hope, directed by Steve Thomas. Australia, 2007. In one of his late poems, the Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus (1944-2007) wrote of “A million refugees clinging to his footsteps.” This was not poetic hyperbole. Boulus was haunted by a visceral tragedy. The invasion and occupation of Iraq back in 2003 and the sectarian civil ...  Read More »

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Salaam Salim: A Review of The Oath

The Oath, directed by Laura Poitras. USA, 2010. The Oath by filmmaker Laura Poitras weaves a documentary account of the lives of two Yemeni men to offer a fresh perspective on the “war on terror.” The man you have probably heard of, Salim Hamdan, is conspicuously absent because it was shot while he was locked away in ...  Read More »

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Al-Tahir Wattar (1936-2010)

Al-Tahir Wattar, one of Algeria’s most influential writers died on the 13th of August, after a two-year battle with colonic cancer. He was a foundational figure in the Arabophone novel in Algeria and widely recognized and celebrated in the Arab world. Some of his ten novels were translated into ten ...  Read More »

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